MARCH 2022
Cover of Poverty Solutions five years of impact report: propelling change, 2016-2021

Celebrating Five Years of Policy Impact
Since its launch in 2016, Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan has built an action-based research program that has informed social safety net responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, paved the way for increased access to affordable housing, changed the ways schools support students experiencing homelessness, and promoted a deeper of understanding of the systemic inequality that drives community-level disadvantage across the country. 

As the university-wide initiative celebrates five years of public policy impact and finding new ways to prevent and alleviate poverty, Poverty Solutions faculty and staff reflected on the partnerships with policymakers, service providers, nonprofits, and community groups at the local, state, and national levels that made the work possible.

See the Impact Report
New Projects
  • Disability in the Shadow of Mass Incarceration: essay by Poverty Solutions Senior Advisor Reuben Jonathan Miller of the University of Chicago, who gave a TED Talk on how radical hospitality can change the lives of the formerly incarcerated.
  • Enterprise Community Partners' Evelyn Zwiebech was named one of 10 Featured Innovators for her proposal with Poverty Solutions' Karen Kling to promote good-faith land contracts through the Valuing Homes in Black Communities Challenge. Ashoka and the Brookings Institution recently featured their research in a brief and webinar.
  • Poverty Solutions joined Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and researchers from Wayne State University to present findings from a new report that suggests the 2020 U.S. Census may have significantly undercounted Detroit’s population. 
Upcoming & Recent Events
COVID-19: Reflecting on Race, Health, and Economic Justice
U-M's Center for Racial Justice, Poverty Solutions, and the National Center for Institutional Diversity are co-hosting a three-part virtual symposium that will bring together a diverse group of changemakers to (1) meditate on the past and current racial dynamics of COVID-19 in Michigan and Detroit and (2) to discuss the policies, programs, and practices that have successfully responded to the needs of communities of color sidelined by the pandemic.

The symposium kicks off April 1 with a panel discussion on local impact of safety nets on communities of color. Panelists include William Lopez, clinical assistant professor at U-M School of Public Health; Kat Stafford, national investigative reporter at the Associated Press; and Charles E. Williams, pastor of the Historic King Solomon Baptist Church in Detroit; moderated by Mara Cecilia Ostfeld, associate faculty director at U-M Poverty Solutions. Learn more and register
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Poverty and Inequality
U-M's Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, Poverty Solutions, and Democracy & Debate hosted Sen. Warren at a virtual event on Feb. 11. 
Video screenshot of conversation with Elizabeth Warren
Daryl Collins on Developing Tech-led Methods for Creating Scale in Qualitative Research
U-M's William Davidson Institute and Poverty Solutions co-hosted acclaimed author and entrepreneur Daryl Collins at a virtual event on Feb. 17.
New Research
In the News
Photo of Christina Weiland
Poverty Solutions faculty affiliate Christina Weiland, associate professor in the School of Education, and five of her colleagues responded to a new study of the effects of Tennessee’s Voluntary Pre-K program. 

Brookings' Brown Center Chalkboard blog
Photo of Patrick Cooney
"We're still in a pandemic. It seems like there's a strong case that we should be continuing these measures," said Patrick Cooney, assistant director of policy impact at Poverty Solutions, on evidence that the monthly Child Tax Credit payments, which ended in December 2021, were helping families afford food. 

Photo of Natasha Pilkauskas
New research suggests giving extra cash to mothers with low incomes can change their infants’ brain development. Poverty Solutions faculty affiliate Natasha Pilkauskas, an associate professor of public policy, called it "a very important study," but said more research is needed to confirm the results and to see if they hold true for children older than infants.

Associated Press
Photo of Jennifer Erb-Downward
"When we’re starting to suspend and expel one in 10 children who have ever experienced homelessness in their life up to that point, we’re not helping those kids who’ve experienced trauma and have some real challenges," said Jennifer Erb-Downward, senior research associate at Poverty Solutions, on her recent analysis of school discipline rates among students who have experienced homelessness. 

Michigan Advance
Copyright © 2022 The Regents of the University of Michigan
Poverty Solutions is a newsletter produced by Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan, which aims to find and test new and innovative solutions for the prevention and alleviation of poverty. If you have any questions about Poverty Solutions, contact us at
Joan and Sanford Weill Hall, Suite 5100 | 735 South State Street | Ann Arbor, MI 48109-3091

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